This summer Real Estate Weekly is writing a monthly series on accessible housing here in the Grand Valley. We focused on affordable and marketable rents in May and June, and this month we’re looking for entry-level or empty nest houses.
The good news for homeowners is that the value of real estate has risen dramatically across the board. According to the June Bray report, the average price for homes in Grand Valley at that point in time was $ 272,000, meaning half of all homes sold were for less than that and half for more. This year, the average home price has risen to $ 325,000, an increase of 19%.
This price hike isn’t so good news for renters, newcomers, and first-time buyers who might all be interested in single-family homes. Chances are, buyers’ wages have not increased 19%, meaning that competition for lower-priced homes is fiercer and that the dream of owning a home seems like a far-fetched fantasy to some potential buyers.
The Grand Junction Housing Authority has a self-help housing program that enables home buyers to get equity into their home instantly as they do much of the construction. The program is limited to those who earn no more than 80% of the median income, and it has been a great way for many working families to buy a home they can afford. Unfortunately, all of the lots in Butner Estates, the current residential area where groups of qualified buyers have been able to build their own homes, are available to buyers. There are more than 60 people on the waiting list and when the need and demand is so high, Housing Resources is actively looking for land that would allow them to build another self-help neighborhood.
Housing Resources is also monitoring the extended moratorium on foreclosures due to COVID-related job losses through late July and hopes to work with homeowners who have defaulted on their home payments during the pandemic. Housing Resources has programs that can help homeowners in difficulty regardless of their income, and encourages homeowners to reach out to them if they have missed payments during the pandemic.
Building homes that average workers can afford is a pressing need here in Grand Valley, and the city of Grand Junction has taken a first step in commissioning a home appraisal earlier this year . Root Policy Research, the company that conducted the study, will return to the city council later this summer with strategies and suggestions.
One strategy for reducing housing costs is to increase density. Instead of building four houses on one hectare of land, a common zoning now provides eight apartments per hectare. Some urban fill areas allow higher density for townhouse, condominium, or apartment projects as long as there is sufficient parking space.
Although city planners, developers, and builders know that higher density is a logical and inexpensive way to slow down urban sprawl while creating a more affordable housing stock when a piece of land is surrounded by existing homes (which may have been built when large lots and turf was more of a standard), projects are often turned down by neighbors who simply don’t want to see smaller houses on tiny lots or townhouses or condos next to their homes.
Two new housing proposals are working their way through town planning that are designed to help address the shortage of available housing while avoiding a slowdown in NIMBYism due to their location.
Canyon View Cottages is a Senergy Builders project for 26 acres of undeveloped land north of G Road, west of 24 Road. As suggested, it would comprise a total of 182 residential units, with 82 small single-family houses in the center of the development, surrounded by 102 terraced houses on the edge. The proposal meets the existing building requirements and there are only a few neighbors who oppose it.
Darin Carei, owner of Senergy Builders, hopes to get regulatory approval for his plans by August or September and hopes to lay the foundation for the infrastructure by the end of the year.
On the south side of G Road, on 168 acres of land that extends around the Community Hospital, Mosaic Housing is proposing an urban development that will include a factory for its modular component-based construction, as well as 250 market prices rental units in multiple buildings, more than 200 Voucher-based affordable rental units and 180 townhomes. Mosaic is focused on solutions for manpower housing, and the company is confident that its modular construction process, where much of the home is built in a factory rather than on-site, can help reduce housing costs.
Home buyers looking for single family homes may find that their purchasing power is greater by looking for an existing home rather than a new one that is still in the planning process. Houses priced below $ 300,000 come on the market quite often, but they don’t stay around for long. Of the total of 1,995 homes sold in Mesa County since January, 887 homes were sold for less than $ 300,000, according to the Bray report.
Nicole Parentice, a real estate agent at RE / MAX 4000, has listed three homes under $ 300,000 in the past few weeks, and all of them were signed in less than three days. Your advice to buyers looking for an existing home in this price range is to be ready to look at homes as soon as they are in the market and be ready to do some work on the home once they own it. While she usually asks buyers to make sure the HVAC, roof, and other essential items are ready to go, she also wants buyers to be ready to work on a variety of cosmetic improvements in this price range.
Although investors are buying some homes at affordable prices and paying cash, all three homes recently listed and sold by Parentice have been sold to buyers intending to live in them, and all three have been sold to buyers getting mortgages to buy their properties. Existing homes are out there selling to buyers with FHA loans, but they are selling fast.
Next month, the weekly Real Estate will be looking at some of the barriers and challenges facing land development, as well as the latest information from the city’s home valuation.